Surveillance of citizens and the use of their personal data creates excessive pressure on society, threatens people’s privacy, and is not beneficial. For these reasons, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) demands modifications. The certification process outlined under FISA Section 702 requires changes that will safeguard the freedom of non-Americans is not limited. The loose definition of “foreign intelligence” can be improved to ensure that foreigners overseas have protected communication and do not suspect terrorism (Domestic Surveillance Directorate, n.d.).
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The Backdoor Search Loophole can be changed to prevent incidences where the government acquires individual information without a warrant. The outlined changes will prevent violation of other amendments while guaranteeing security. At the same time, the changes will help protect the privacy of people and their dignity. Reasonable restrictions on the activities of authorities and law enforcement agencies are a hallmark of a democratic society.
Supporting Security through Sacrificing Privacy
Ensuring the security of the country and its inhabitants is possible only with full access of law enforcement agencies to all suspicious data. FISA Section 702 should give specific querying guidelines on how the agencies can use the collected information against an individual. The minimization procedures on the search terms used on the Government databases cannot be limited to ensure maximum protection of citizens against terrorism. Additionally, the policies should be specific to instances where the information gathered under 702 can be used in a court of law (“Backdoor search,” n.d.).
Specifically, 702 acquired knowledge should be used in all categories of crimes regardless of the level of seriousness for investigation and evidence in criminal cases. In this case, American citizens will be safe, crime and the number of threats will decrease.
Downstream and Upstream programs
Downstream and upstream are the two forms of 702 data acquisition that prioritize security over privacy. In downstream, the government obtains information about a targeted individual directly from communication service providers in the US. In such cases, the service providers give personal communication details, violating individuals’ privacy for security. Similarly, upstream the government obtains transactions done over the internet to provide information about a targeted person. NSA receives raw upstream data to ensure that justice and security are achieved. The NSA minimization process is not limited to privacy but the extent the information scales up justice and security (Greene, 2018).
The cases of privacy violations by agencies are mostly justified based on the security provision levels. Some instances have led to violation of the fourth amendment following warrantless surveillance.
Backdoor search. (n.d.). Electronic Frontier Foundation. Web.
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Domestic Surveillance Directorate. (n.d.). Surveillance techniques: How your data becomes our data. Web.
Greene, R. (2018). Americans wanted more privacy protections. Congress gave them fewer. New America. Web.